January 1st, 1970
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, we all watched the world seemingly turn upside down. The situation escalated rapidly, and in ways which were simply unimaginable before. However, one positive is that we may have time to reflect a little more and re-prioritize our mental wellbeing. As times change, it’s important we hold on to that introspective mindset by remembering to look after ourselves no matter how busy our lives may get.
Below are some of the tips that helped us most – we wanted to share these as we felt they remained just as relevant today. Of course, there is plenty more information out there and self-care can be different for each person, but these are some of the key things that we found particularly helpful.
Limit your online activity
If you find yourself spending an increased amount of time scrolling through social media channels, try to set a daily limit. Research has found that too much time on social media can increase feelings of anxiety and stress. Capping your social media consumption at 30 minutes a day can help reduce feelings of stress and depression, whilst also improving sleep quality. Use the saved time to connect with friends and loved ones instead!
Healthy body, healthy mind
Regular exercise can make you relax, as well as helping you feel and sleep better. Set some time aside each day for some form of exercise – it can be as simple as a short walk. Alternatively, if you want to exercise from home, why not tune into a free online workout? We’ve found that ‘The Body Coach’, Joe Wicks, offers particularly inspiring videos for people of all athletic abilities – just search his YouTube channel to find one that works for you.
Sleep is your superpower
Feelings of stress or anxiety can make it difficult to have a deep sleep. Brush up on your sleep hygiene to make sure your body is getting the rest it needs, and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Screen time can also affect your sleep, so install a blue light filter on your phone and try to avoid using screens for up to two hours before you go to bed.
Connect with friends and family
If social distancing measures are still in place, ensure you still stay in contact with friends and family. Why not continue the virtual family quiz that you started? If you can, meet up with a friend and go for a walk so you can see each other face-to-face. Friends and family can be a great support network for your mental health, so make sure you schedule in regular catch ups with them.
Find your Zen
Did you know that just one session of meditation can improve your focus by 22% for the day ahead? Practicing mindfulness and meditation can be a great way to relax and destress. Try guided apps such as Calm or Headspace, which both offer free trial periods to help you get started. Headspace also offers a free collection on their app called ‘Weathering the Storm’, which offers meditation, sleep and movement exercises to help you relax.
Sense of balance
If you’re working from home, it can be difficult to maintain a work/life balance. Try to set boundaries on your working hours and communicate these with colleagues to ensure you don’t end up working into evenings or through lunch breaks. It’s also important to schedule regular screen breaks throughout the day and to try to avoid eating lunch at your desk – instead, go for a walk or sit away from your laptop to reset your mind and body.
Get outside and enjoy the sunshine
Getting outside in the sunshine (if possible) has many health benefits. These include improvements to concentration levels, as well as overall health. Enjoying the sunshine on your skin in moderation begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D, which supports the strengthening of bones and muscles, and helps to lift your mood too. Just don’t forget to apply suntan lotion if you’re outside for over 15 minutes!
Back to basics
With more free time at home than normal, many of us have taken up new hobbies or interests, like cooking or getting creative. It can be easy to pass the time catching up on all the latest TV shows but try to keep these newfound enjoyments going instead. Keep up the cooking!
Routine, routine… routine
It may feel a bit like Groundhog Day but stick to your normal routine as much as possible. Evidence suggests that keeping a routine helps people stay grounded and generally happier.
Pick a trusted source
With so much news flying around, both online and via social media, it can be easy to consume and become worried by whatever comes your way. However, it’s important to make sure you’re only gathering information from a trusted list of media and news sources.